This installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet covers minor league games from May 30-June 5. Remember, this feature simply recognizes the hottest prospects in the minors during the past week—it’s not a re-ranking of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.
Contributing: Ben Badler, J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Vince Lara-Cinisomo and Josh Norris.
1. Jake Lamb, 3b, Diamondbacks
Team: Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Why He’s Here: .600/.667/1.120 (15-for-25), 9 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: Lamb made for a very easy choice at No. 1 this week. He dominated the Southern League, and Kris Bryant is in the Southern League. Overall, Lamb stands just behind Bryant as the league’s top offensive performer, ranking second to Bryant in slugging (.567), extra-base hits (33) and total bases (119).
2. D.J. Peterson, 3b, Mariners
Team: high Class A High Desert (California)
Why He’s Here: .500/.548/.893 (14-for-28), 8 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: The projected second-best college bat in last year’s draft class has lived up to his second billing this spring. Peterson hasn’t matched Kris Bryant’s power production, and he’s playing a classification level below Bryant (and in the top hitter’s park in the minors), but he has been quite productive in his own right. After a slow start, he’s hit seven homers in his past 14 games.
3. Jose Berrios, rhp, Twins
Team: high Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 13 SO, 0 BB, 1 HBP
The Scoop: The 2012 supplemental pick from high school in Bayamon, P.R., turned in one of the most dominating starts by a prospect this season on Sunday when he shut down Tampa for seven innings, allowing only one hit and retiring the first 13 batters faced. Being the first game of a doubleheader, he got credit for the complete game. With 65 strikeouts, Berrios is locked in battle with Dunedin Blue Jays starters Taylor Cole and Daniel Norris for supremacy in the Florida State League.
4. Rob Refsnyder, 2b, Yankees
Team: Double-A Trenton (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .464/.464/.857 (13-for-28), 4 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Quite possibly the purest hitter in the Yankees system, Refsnyder has been on fire for the last month or so, and it’s been loud contact too. He tore the cover off the ball this week, which masks the fact that he didn’t take a walk.
5. Jimmy Nelson, rhp, Brewers
Team: Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.17, 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: Nelson showed he’s ready for the big leagues with 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Marlins on May 25. But the Brewers aren’t ready for Nelson yet, so he returned to the Pacific Coast League, where his 1.64 ERA seems like a typo. With a fastball that reaches the high 90s, Nelson should be back in Milwaukee for good before long.
6. Aaron Judge, rf, Yankees
Team: low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: .381/.480/1.048 (8-for-21), 4 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 SO
The Scoop: One of the most powerful hitters in last year’s draft has just about mastered the South Atlantic League. He hit nearly half of his season homer total and notched more than a quarter of his RBIs just this week. High Class A Tampa is calling.
7. Austin Wilson, rf Mariners
Team: low Class A Clinton (Midwest)
Why He’s Here: .385/.448/.846 (10-for-26), 5 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 12 RBIs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: As a 22-year-old out of Stanford and a second-round pick in 2013, Wilson should have little difficulty mastering the Midwest League. Yet despite his age and pedigree, scouts still considered him relatively raw for a college junior, so his assignment to Clinton isn’t entirely surprising. Facing Double-A pitchers will present Wilson’s first stiff test, but for now, he’s shown there’s no need for him to prove anything more at his current level, with a .289/.367/.489 line and eight home runs in 52 games with a reasonable 41 strikeouts.
8. Mike Foltynewicz, rhp, Astros
Team: Triple-A Oklahoma City (Astros)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.17, 7 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB 10 SO
The Scoop: The hard-throwing righthander had 10 strikeouts and, more impressively, no walks after walking nine total over his previous three starts. After he struggled in Houston’s tandem system (12 runs in 15 innings), Foltynewicz has struck out 36 in 31 2/3 innings in May. He said the key has been pulling back on his fastball—93-95 mph—for strikes but says he knows he still has the premium velocity when he needs it.
9. Devon Travis, 2b, Tigers
Team: Double-A Erie (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .481/.481/.852 (13-for-27), 5 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO
The Scoop: Travis returned from a five-week stay on the disabled list on May 19, but he truly kicked his season into high gear during the past 10 games, going 20-for-44 (.455) with 10 extra-base hits and just three strikeouts. Scouts who like Travis see a player who can hit the ball hard consistently, even if he lacks eye-popping raw tools. With a career .333 average in three pro seasons, he’s done just that.
10. Tim Anderson, ss, White Sox
Team: high Class A Winston-Salem (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: .364/.371/.636 (12-for-33), 4 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: One of the most electric players in last year’s draft turned it on this week. He had a game-winning homer among his accomplishments, and his opening week of June served as an extension of his excellent May.
11. Jesse Winker, lf, Reds
Team: high Class A Bakersfield (California)
Why He’s Here: .313/.389/.704 (10-for-32), 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 4 BB, 8 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: The California League produces its mirages every year, whether it’s Bubba Bell, Jon Gaston or anyone else benefitting from the extreme hitter-friendly conditions. That description doesn’t fit Winker, a Cal League hitter who would have pitchers begging for mercy regardless of league. After another stellar week, Winker is hitting .319/.414/.546 with nine home runs in 47 games, showing a selectively aggressive approach within the strike zone to go with a quick, compact swing and plenty of power.
12. Jose Peraza, 2b, Braves
Team: high Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: .367/.375/.667 (11-for-30), 5 R, 1 2B, 4 3B, 5 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HBP, 3-for-3 SB
The Scoop: Perhaps Tommy La Stella shouldn’t get too comfortable in Atlanta, not with the hard-charging Peraza now playing second base full time and hitting like crazy in the Carolina League. To that last point, Peraza leads the CL with 80 hits and 28 steals (in 34 tries), while ranking third in the batting race at .328. Thanks to eight triples, the righthanded hitter trails only Joey Gallo in total bases.
13. Joey Gallo, 3b, Rangers
Team: high Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Why He’s Here: .471/.625/1.059 (8-for-17) 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 BB, 5 SO
The Scoop: Want some perspective on just how good Joey Gallo’s season has been? He could go oh-for-his-next-93 and still be slugging .500. Don’t expect any such slump. At the rate he hits home runs, he should be flirting with 30 bombs by the time we hit the major league all-star break.
In The Team Photo
Kris Bryant, 3b, Cubs. Bryant was merciful this week and let Jake Lamb take the glory for once, but three homers in a week for Double-A Tennessee still is mighty fine. Plus, he still has comfortable leads in nearly every offensive category in the Southern League.
Mookie Betts, cf/2b, Red Sox. Let’s see, he had six hits in a doubleheader for Double-A Portland, got promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, then collected three hits in his second game there. Oh, and one of those hits was a game-winning home run in extra innings. That’s a pretty nice little week.
Hunter Dozier, 3b, Royals. In a Carolina League full of pitcher’s parks, Dozier calls the most pitcher-friendly one of them home. (For perspective, he’s hit .337/.439/.472 in 27 games away from high Class A Wilmington this season.) Dozier collected a hit in each game this week—half home, half road—going 13-for-27 (.481) with six doubles, two walks and seven RBIs.
Sean Gilmartin, lhp, Twins: Pitching in the Braves system in 2013, Gilmartin’s stock dropped due to a bad shoulder and a swollen 5.74 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett. The Twins bought low on Gilmartin in December, acquiring him in a trade for Ryan Doumit, and the 24-year-old has recovered nicely, albeit a level lower at Double-A New Britain. After nine strikeouts in six shutout innings on May 30, he threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings yesterday with eight punchouts, bringing him down to a 2.82 ERA with a 68/16 SO/BB ratio through 67 frames.
Hunter Renfroe, rf, Padres. The California League’s most powerful hitter had a typically powerful week at high Class A Lake Elsinore, belting two homers and three doubles while batting 9-for-30 (.300) with five walks and eight strikeouts. The 22-year-old Renfroe leads the Cal League with 15 homers, 35 extra-base hits and 137 total bases.
Jake Thompson, rhp, Tigers. The Texas high schooler drafted in 2012 continues his stellar run at high Class A Lakeland, winning both of his starts in the past week with 11 strikeouts in 10 innings while allowing only one earned run.
Allen Webster, rhp, Red Sox. Perhaps smelling a promotion in the wake of injuries to Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront, Webster gave up just two earned runs over 14 innings this week at Triple-A Pawtucket. Scouts say Webster has ironed out control issues by pitching more to contact with his two-seamer and attempting to become more efficient with pitches.
Mark Appel, rhp, Astros. The 22-year-old Appel celebrated the one-draft anniversary of his No. 1 overall selection by revealing that he’s been dealing with tendinitis in his right thumb at high Class A Lancaster this season. Before that news broke, however, he allowed 10 runs and 11 baserunners while recording four outs in a start last Saturday, pushing his season ERA to 11.93 and his WHIP to 2.23.
Garin Cecchini, 3b, Red Sox. Aside from a surprise callup to the big club—and his first big league hit—Cecchini had a lousy week. He had just two hits in 19 at-bats at Triple-A Pawtucket and struck out nine times. OK, when you get your first big league hit, even a .105 week on the farm can’t be all bad.
Reese McGuire, c, Pirates. Defensively, he’s still a stud and is throwing out 47 percent of basestealers with just three passed balls all year. Unfortunately, he reached base just twice this week at low Class A West Virginia, so he’s earned his not-hot designation.
Yorman Rodriguez, of, Reds: This is going to be the Year of Yorman, right? On May 14, Rodriguez turned in his third straight multi-hit game, bringing him to .316/.364/.418 on the season at Double-A Pensacola as a 21-year-old. Since then, he’s been a disaster, with few hits, plenty of strikeouts and just two extra-base knocks in that time frame. This week’s 2-for-21 showing dropped him to .226/.269/.311 on the season with 46 strikeouts in 43 games.
Greifer Andrade, ss/3b, Mariners: We’re weeks away from July 2, when teams will spend at least $40 million on international prospects on one day alone. Last year, the big prize for Seattle was Andrade, a Venezuelan who signed for $1.05 million and moved from the outfield to shortstop. For scouts who believed in Andrade, his calling card was his bat, and the 17-year-old has shown that in his debut in the Venezuelan Summer League. Andrade has struck out just eight times in 72 plate appearances, posting a .338/.389/.415 slash line along the way. The question marks on Andrade as an amateur were his average speed (would that work in center field?) and his power (would he have enough to fit as a corner outfielder?), but the Mariners signed him and have put him at shortstop, though he’s also spent time at third base and will likely end up playing the hot corner down the road. He already has 12 errors in 17 games, so there’s work to be done in the field, but his bat has come as advertised.